Maps, GPS and where we are going.

where are you going Over the Easter weekend I had the pleasure of relaxing and reading a periodical with a feature about a map collector.  I  was intrigued learning how important maps are to our society and the stories gleaned from what is now considered  art.  My thoughts gravitated to my experiences with maps and how the use of maps have changed in our society.

As a young Officer Candidate earning my commission, I had to learn map reading and land navigation.  In addition to  the classroom portion being educated about saddles, ridges and the like; we were required to put our knowledge to  practicum in the field.  Both day and night land navigation using a compass in conjunction with a topographical map to find designated points for a go/no go.   A no go meant retraining and retesting of the course…a second failure was immediate removal from Officers Candidate School. To tell you how times have changed; my son graduated from Army Infantry training now too long ago…map reading?  Nah; GPS. My thoughts here are that if a leader cant read a map and know where they are going, how can they possibly lead others?  Have you ever worked for someone that never took “map reading” much less actually tried to traverse successfully through the “forest?”

I remember taking family trips and looking at the map for the route to our destination.  Interesting, my dad would let me “navigate” although we were traveling up or down I-95 and getting lost was not much of a possibility.  However, I have a distinct memory of tracking the exits and trying to know exactly where we were and estimating the that we would arrive at our destination.  Today?  GPS is on the car, the mobile phone and tablet all telling the techy inhabitants of my car all they need to know about our location…but. I’m the Dad….we’re still not stopping.

We have become a society in some cases blindly reliant on technology and tossing aside what history has taught us in the past.  Basically; do a little homework.and take a look for yourself, on any subject.  The longer I live the more intrigued I am to witness so many traveling to nowhere, all so busy, and just accepting the direction from the digital source as gospel.  Does the GPS in our phones and such have a reverse?  I mean…it tells us where to go…but not where we came from.  Sometimes that’s pretty important information.

From my experience I believe that reading the map prior to taking a journey and using GPS is a good idea.  Don’t think so?  For a laugh take a look at the video below. Cheers y’all!


  1. I still like looking at a physical map. I don’t have a GPS in my car. For one thing, I cannot follow audio directions; I have to see the route. Also, I like looking at my location within the big picture; I don’t like zooming in. I always print out a map if I’m going somewhere new. I like to use the GPS on my phone as I’m going, especially if I take a wrong turn and have to get back on track. But that always will be in conjunction with a physical map. Simply put, I don’t know how so many people can trust a technology to tell them where to go without questioning it or seeing it with their own eyes!


  2. Jeff Harbeson said:


    I love reading a map! It’s interesting to me and part of this post was about how we take so much at face value rather than doing to “hard work” of preparation…either in business, travel, life, etc. Worse, can you imagine following or working for someone that falls into that “tech only” category? Thanks for reading…Cheers!


  3. Thank you Jeff for another great post.
    .I to am one of those old timers age who at 54 refuses to totally trust the GPS to get me to my destination safely. I still prefer to have a real map that shows the whole route in a format that is meant to be read ( and not by flipping pages of a “map book” ). In my mind there is no legal “U-turn” and it amuses me when the GPS asks me to make one while traveling in the middle lane of a divided highway. Or in a construction zone i see signs posted telling me not to rely on my GPS for the next 15km. My plea to the cosmos please don’t take away my printed maps.



  4. Slightly left field this comment. But I recently launched a GPS based Memorial App. Click at the graveside the app records the location, create a memorial on the App and hey presto you have a memorial at your grave telling visitors all about your life in rich media


  5. Jeff Harbeson said:

    Thank you for your kind comments! Please forgive me for my late and slow reply…I recently was “lost” listening to both my car and phone “GPS” I stopped, read a map, and got to my destination. I’m in full agreement, maps are a must! Cheers! Jeff


  6. Morguie said:

    I am with you…don’t care for GPS as it doesn’t always steer you correctly. I refuse to part with my years’ old Thomas map books, lol!


  7. Technology is getting advanced day by day and we are totally engaged with it. Its purpose is to always ease the regular tasks. With internet, GPS and mapping now it has become so simple to reach at any place as well as to request for help from any place.


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